Australia Stocks Celebrate China's Easing Moves

MarketWatch Pulse

Australian stocks rallied out of the open Monday, taking the news of China's surprise policy interest-rate cut and running with it, as the S&P/ASX 200 tacked on 1% in the first half-hour of trade. The unexpected easing from the People's Bank of China juiced the China-exposed Australian iron-ore miners, even as the ore itself fell below the $70-a-metric-ton level on the spot market. Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. soared more than 10%, while Arrium Ltd. jumped 9.2%, BC Iron Ltd. gained 8.4%, and Atlas Iron Ltd. and Mt. Gibson Iron Ltd. rose 5% apiece. Senior miner Rio Tinto Ltd. advanced 3.6%, while rival BHP Billiton Ltd. improved by 4.2% after the company said it would seek to further cut costs in the years ahead. Other resource shares drew support from the commodities markets -- with Comex gold futures recapturing the $1,200-an-ounce level, gold miners rose (Kingsgate Consolidated Ltd. up 2.3%, Perseus Mining Ltd. up 3.3%), and a rebound in crude oil helped the energy names (Santos Ltd. up 2.4%, Oil Search Ltd. up 1.4%). Likewise, the rebound for fuel prices pushed the airline shares lower, as Qantas Airways Ltd. lost 0.6%, and Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd. fell 1.2%. Among other movers, Leighton Holdings Ltd. added 1.6%, Billabong International Ltd. gained 2.2%, and JB Hi-Fi Ltd. sat out the rally, slipping 0.1% as Deutsche Bank said the retailer could suffer from delays to the release of some much-anticipated videogames, though console sales could be strong.

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